An ingrown toenail is a nail that grows into the skin along the side of the nail bed, causing pain and swelling as well as infection if not treated properly. Ingrown toenails can occur on any toe, but nearly all occur on the big toe, which is subjected to greater pressure from ill-fitting shoes and high heels that crowd toes and interfere with normal nail growth. The pain associated with ingrown toenails can be severe, increasing when walking or wearing shoes.
Ingrown toenails form when the skin of the toe is crowded up against the nail, causing the nail o begin to grow into the skin. The most common contributing factor to ingrown toenails is improper nail-trimming technique. Unlike your fingernails which can be cut on a curve, toenails must be trimmed straight across to prevent the edge of the nail from growing into the skin. Toenails also should not be cut extremely short. In addition to wearing ill-fitting shoes, having very thick toenails or nails that curve downward can also increase the risk of developing ingrown toenails.
Ingrown toenails cause pain, tenderness, swelling and redness around the area where the nail is growing into the skin. People with diabetes and other conditions that affect circulation typically have a greater risk of infection.
Some ingrown nails can be treated with professional trimming and application of gauze to keep the nail growing outward instead of inward. Many ingrown toenails require surgical removal of the entire nail or a portion of it. At Walk and Smile, we use special surgical and anesthetic techniques so patients experience little to no discomfort and almost no bleeding, allowing for faster and far more comfortable recovery.
Read more about Dr. Fish's ingrown toenail surgery on his blog!
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